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Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests (H.H. Pius XII)

O Jesus, Eternal Pontiff, Good Shepherd, Source of life, who, by the singular generosity of your most sweetest Heart, you have given us priests, so that we may fully fulfill the designs of sanctification which your grace inspires in our souls. We beseech you: come and help them with your merciful assistance.

Be in them, O Jesus, living faith in their works, unshakable hope in their trials, ardent charity in their resolutions. May your word, eternal Wisdom, be, by constant meditation, the daily nourishment of their inner life, daily nourishment of their interior life. May the example of your life and Passion be renewed in their conduct and sufferings.

Grant them, O Lord, to be detached from all earthly interests and to seek only your greater glory. Grant them to be faithful to their duties with a pure conscience until their last breath. And when with the death of the body they give into your hands the task well done, give them, Jesus, you who were their Master on earth, the eternal reward: the crown of righteousness in the splendor of the saints.

Amen.

The Lord comes after his preachers

From the homilies of St. Gregory the Great, Pope, on the Gospels (Homily 17, 1-3)

Our Lord and Savior, beloved brethren, teaches us sometimes by his words, sometimes by his works and by his deeds. His deeds, in fact, are norms of conduct, since by them he tacitly gives us to understand what we ought to do. He commands his disciples to preach two by two, for the precept of charity is twofold, love of God and love of neighbor.

The Lord sends the disciples to preach two by two, and by this he indicates to us without words that he who has no love for others can in no way accept the ministry of preaching.

No wonder it is said that he sent them ahead of him to all the towns and places where he intended to go. The Lord comes after his preachers, for, having preceded the preaching, the Lord then comes to the dwelling place of the preachers of our interior, when it has been prepared by the words of exhortation which have opened our spirit to the truth. In this sense, Isaiah says to the preachers: Prepare a way for the Lord. For this reason, the psalmist also says to them: Carpet the way of him who goes up to the sunset. The Lord ascends above the sunset. For it was precisely in the decline of his passion that, by his resurrection, he made his glory more fully manifest. He ascends above the sunset, because, by his resurrection, he trampled underfoot the death he had suffered. For this reason we carpeted the path of the one who rises above the sunset when we proclaim his glory to you, so that he may come afterward and enlighten you with his loving presence.

Let us listen to what the Lord says to the preachers he sends into his fields: The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest. Therefore, for an abundant harvest there are few laborers. To hear this, we cannot help but feel great sadness, because we have to recognize that, although there are people who want to hear good things, there is a lack of workers. There is a lack of those who dedicate themselves to proclaim these good things to them. Look at how the world, is full of priests, and yet it is very difficult to find a worker for the Lord’s harvest. We have received the priestly ministry, but we do not fulfill the duties of this ministry.

Think, therefore, beloved brethren, think well of what the Gospel says: Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Pray also for us, that our work for your good may be fruitful, and that our voice may never cease to exhort you, lest, after we have received the ministry of preaching, we be accused before the righteous Judge for our silence.

St. John Paul II: “Thy Kingdom come”

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II FOR THE XXXVI WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS (1999)

The invocation “Thy Kingdom come” calls for conversion and reminds us that man’s earthly journey must be marked by the daily search for the Kingdom of God before and above all else. It is an invocation that invites us to leave the world of vanishing words to generously assume, in spite of every difficulty and opposition, the commitments to which the Lord calls us.

Asking the Lord “Thy Kingdom come” also entails considering the Father’s house as one’s own dwelling place, living and acting according to the style of the Gospel and loving in the Spirit of Jesus; it means, at the same time, discovering that the Kingdom is a “small seed” endowed with an unsuspected fullness of life, but continually exposed to the risk of being rejected and trampled underfoot.

May those who are called to the priesthood or to the consecrated life accept with generous availability the seed of the vocation that God has placed in their hearts. Drawing them to follow Christ with an undivided heart, the Father invites them to be joyful and free apostles of the Kingdom. In their generous response to this invitation, they will find the true happiness to which their hearts aspire.